Teaching College Test Prep

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College Test Prep | Teaching college test prep can be started earlier than you think. In this interview, Felice Gerwitz and Jean Burk discuss college prep tests and the best way to get the most out of your time. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #collegetestprepTeaching College Test Prep ~ Episode 361

Teaching college test prep can be started earlier than you think. In this interview, Felice Gerwitz and Jean Burk discuss college prep tests and the best way to get the most out of your time.

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College Test Prep Starts With Tests

The two big tests are the SAT and the ACT. The SAT is created by the College Board and the ACT is created by the American College Tests. Not only can doing well open the doors to college but it can provide good scholarship money. Colleges get their rankings based on test scores. So the higher the score, the more money available for scholarships.

85% of the colleges will actually admit giving scholarship money simply based on a score. The tests are written pretty much by the same people, but they’re two different companies. So there’s definitely a crossover of information that you can use for both. Once you learn how to beat one test and pretty much use that information to beat the other.

Another test that has been around for three years is the CLT, this stands for Classic Learning Test. And this particular test is actually based on western traditions and more along what homeschool families teach. This test is offered five times a year. and is basically in about 150 colleges right now.

Staring College Test Prep Early

One of the things Jean hears at conferences as well through emails or even phone calls is a wish to start earlier. There’s a huge misconception that learning about how to take the SAT or ACT is something you do a week before the test. The problem with that is that there is no instant success. Test prep is no different. The sooner you start, the more time you have to improve, especially when we’re talking hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars scholarship money that’s out there just simply based on your test score.

Some kids begin as early as six grade, but not every sixth grader is ready. Seventh, eighth-graders and older is the perfect time to begin. When students get older they get busier especially toward the junior year. It’s very difficult to squeeze one more thing in. And usually test prep is not one of them because a lot of kids don’t want to give up something else or they can’t give up something else.

Middle school ages and grades is the time to solidify the information, you have time to internalize the strategies and shortcuts and hopefully, by the time that you are in high school, this is second nature.

Natural Test Takers:

There are kids who are really good test takers naturally they are logically minded. So it’s kind of intuitive to them. And for those students learning a few more little things can really put them over the top.

Rule Followers:

And then you have your other students who are more of what we call the rule followers. And those are the ones who need more time. They overthink everything. They read all the passages, all the questions, all the answers they go to what can happen, map and showing all their work. And for them they need more time to retrain their brains to think logically.

Must-Know College Test Prep:

  1. These tests are logic tests and they’re not about IQ or how smart your child they are designed to purposely mislead the students. And the wrong answers can be very tricky and easy to pick. And so doesn’t matter where your child is on the learning spectrum. So you want a starting point.
  2. Baseline: Go to collegeboard.org and click on practice tests. Scroll to the bottom printout, test number one, for example, have your student take it. You can score it pretty quickly with the app, by snapping a picture of it. Then you will have a baseline. This score does not reflect their GPA or who they are, know that the baseline number is typically low.
  3. An insider tip: For example, when they’re doing the reading section, as much as 75% of that passage can be completely skipped and most students are going to try to analyze it and try to interpret it and they’re gonna try to answer the questions in the order that they’ve given you, but they’re testing thinking skills. Most students will waste time on question number one.
  4. You must learn the logic behind the questions and how to rearrange them in the correct order. Good math students will often get their worst score on the math section. And that’s not because they’re not good in math, but because again, what they’re doing is they are so used to working out the problems, the long way showing every step, showing all their work and then pretty much burning up the clock by doing that.
  5. Time: For the writing portion you are given four passages, 44 questions and 35 minutes to do it in. So logistically, there’s no way you can finish. It comes out to about 47 seconds, a question plus the passages.
  6. Tests have patterns within them. You cannot study for them, you have to study the tests themselves. For example in the writing portion, there’s a pattern that occurs as much as 75% of the time where you can answer the questions in 10 seconds.
  7. It is a beatable test, you don’t have to be a genius, and average students, even students with severe disabilities, even autism, and dyslexia, dysgraphia have become national mayor’s scholars.
  8. General learning strategies can help in other tests as well just learning the general testing and strategies have helped students on other tests such as the GED, the LCFF, the MCAT, the CPA tests, real estate tests, the military, and even the FBI tests. Most standardized tests are all written very similar. In the fact that you have one objective, indisputable answer and several distractors and most tests are written where you have to understand that so that you can, like you said, eliminate by process of elimination, you can eliminate the trick answers. And so this is why I’m such a big believer and making test prep a part of your daily school.
  9. The only fair way that anyone can test everybody equally is with standardized testing because we’re all from different backgrounds, different states, different schools is your critical thinking skills.
  10. The writing portion should be taken. “Optional” should not be optional because that is the first cut at the university level if you have not taken the written portion. They look at this as one student who does the optional work and those who didn’t. In many cases, the application does not move to the next stage because they didn’t even take the time to do extra work. So it’s really important. And there are other reasons to do the optional essay.


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